Sandwiched (pun completely intended) between two noshing neighborhoods: Hell’s Kitchen and the West Village, Chelsea serves up more than art galleries.
Among painters’, photographers’ and sculptors’ showcases, the best restaurants in Chelsea give creative minds a run for their money with beautiful interiors, artsy appetizers and dishes plated to perfection.
When it comes to masterpieces, we’d rather eat than interpret, but that’s just us…
No abuela? No problem. Without embarking on a Euro-trip (though a vacation would be nice…), homemade Spanish cuisine is hosted communal-style at the Paella Bar, which opened in 2008. Socarrat is the name for the crust that forms at the bottom of a paella pan, so there’s an obvious order here: Paella with rice, vegetables and seasoning with choice of seafood ($22-24). A selection of wines are available, but a Caliche Rum Sangria: Caliche, Don Q Coco, Sprite, strawberries and Cava Wine ($9) is a popular pairing.
259 W. 19th St., socarratpaellabar.com
With 300 seats in the main dining room and 22,000 square feet throughout the space, there’s a bit to explore, including the menu. Crispy Snapper in the Sand ($44) is wok fried with minced fried garlic and dried olives. TAO Chef Scamardella actually bribed the kitchen of a restaurant in Hong Kong for the recipe. Not a bad trade. Touché, chef. Now, can we bribe you with a Mango Chili Martini (mango, cayenne puree and finished with three drops of chili oil, $16) to tell it to us?
92 9th Ave., taodowntown.com
The tech crowd (hey, Google neighbors!) and the artsy types lunch during the week, but happy hour and brunching is a draw, too. At lunch, the Tagilatelle alla Bolognese: fresh pasta with a ragu of beef, pork and veal ($16) and for brunch, the Pizza Colazione: sunny side eggs, pancetta, mozzarella, scallions ($14) come highly recommended. While the usual 3B’s: 1. Broadway, 2. bars and 3. bums are throughout Manhattan, only here can you order the 3B’s cocktail: 1. bourbon, 2. (fresh) basil, 3. (straw)berries, and soda ($14).
363 W. 16th St., themaritimehotel.com/labottega.php
Mexico and barbecue had a baby. And we want to adopt it, erm, I mean… eat it. Tacos, bowls and burritos with authentic Texas ‘cue is the core of the modern eatery. The Brisket Burrito ($8.73) is made with green or yellow rice, black or pinto beans, freshly-chopped smoked brisket and choice of other toppings (salsas, pico, pickled onion, radishes, cotija cheese, sour cream). As the only fast-casual restaurant offering four variations of Michelada ($5.97) like the Humo variety (smoky chipotle and lime), there’s a flavor (and obviously, a burrito) for everyone.
Check out, Sasha Shor, executive chef of Tres Carnes, showing us how to make her seasonal Gazpacho (perfect for those hot summer days).
688 6th Ave., trescarnes.com
Soju cocktails ($8) with seasonal teas, like yuzu strawberry and ginger plum, can be sipped in the open kitchen layout while nomming on ramen or Disco Fries ($12). Yes. That’s right. Korean disco fries. Topped with ramen gravy and kimchi, there’s a poached egg and cheese curd, too. The Chelsea Market eatery’s different ramens ($12-13) range from brisket kimchi for the carnivores, to Soybean, for the vegetarians — and all broths are made from scratch.
75 9th Ave., mokbar.com
New Orleans: beignets, bourbon and breasts. Bo’s: Roasted Heritage Pork Chop with savoy cabbage, faro, honeycrisp apple and house made creole mustard ($30). Just like Louisiana, the welcoming vibe and playful menu creates a lively atmosphere for the after-work crowd. It wouldn’t be a NOLA vibe without a cocktail. We say cheers with the Louisiana Rosebud ($13): Centenario Plata, Rosebud Tea Syrup, Lemon Regans Bitters, and Prosecco. If not bourbon, bubbly is best.
6 West 24th St., bosrestaurant.com
Balls. And lots of them. Families and young adults mix-and-match the on the dry-erase menu to find their favorite feasts… the latter opting for $2 JELL-O shots after midnight. Before the clock strikes 12, Moscow Mules ($10) are a fan favorite in addition to the Classic Beef Meatball Hero with Tomato Sauce ($11). Non-beef eaters, have no fear: there are veggie balls, chicken balls and pork balls too. Like we said, lots. Inside, outside or underneath (Underballs – the bar below), there are plenty of seats. But if you’re balled-out, the ice cream sandwiches are pretty spectacular, too.
200 9th Ave., themeatballshop.com
Paintings or plates — which do you prefer? Leave us your favorite Chelsea picks in the comments below.
Hilary Sheinbaum is a University of Florida graduate and Writer/Reporter/Blogger/Person.
Hilary has contributed to dozens of publications including USA TODAY, Marie Claire magazine, ELLE.com, The Village Voice, amNew York and MensFitness.com. She writes about entertainment, food and beverage, love/dating and beauty.
She has been featured on FOX News, HuffPo Live, PIX11 News, StyleBlazer.com and People.com as a Lifestyle and Entertainment Expert.